One of the downsides of working in retail is that you never really get to enjoy Christmas. For the most part, the holiday season is a manic blur that begins roughly near the beginning of October and concludes–fizzles out, really–about now. By the time it is all over, I’m too tired to remember what happened and whether or not there was anything to enjoy about it.
That makes me sad. I really enjoy Christmas–I think–and it always depresses me about how quickly it passes. It’s like watching your children grow up every year–it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s gone. Most of all, I miss the sense of peace and happiness that other people in different lines of work seem to enjoy. Spare me the horror stories of family get-togethers and bad gifts and the like. Consider yourself lucky that you have time to create those stories. I had to work all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and would have loved to have had the time to spend with my family. You only get so many Christmas mornings with your children and each one I work is one wasted.
This is part of the reason I wanted to write a set of Christmas short stories–to hold onto a little bit of the season before it was gone again. I think another part is that retail tends to take all the meaning out of the season. Everything is about putting up sales figures and reducing inventory rather than looking back on the year. I’m too busy listening to customers and employees complain to hear carols or bells. I’m too busy building displays at my store to decorate my own house. I’m too busy selling gifts to other people to worry about buying some myself. I’m too busy, simply, to enjoy any of it.
Someday, I would love to be in a position where I could take off a couple of weeks this time of year to just enjoy it and not worry about sales figures or inventory levels. I would love to travel and see friends and family during these few weeks. Moreover, I would love to celebrate my wedding anniversary–New Year’s Day–without being exhausted from the week before.
Yes, Christmas has come and gone, and I missed it again. Maybe next year.